Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Calming Effects of Yarn

I was semi-voluntarily laid off last June. I have applied to so many jobs since then, and I've even had numerous interviews. But no offers. My unemployment benefits have been exhausted. I never expected to be unemployed for more than 6 months.  Emotions are running high right now.

A Verb for Keeping Warm Pioneer
I'm angry at anyone who thinks someone who is unemployed can just "go get a job" but is too lazy because they are getting "handouts." I am frustrated that I've spent a lot of money and time getting to where I am in my career but now I can't get hired, despite that Master's degree and 15 years of experience. I'm scared about whether I can manage to extend my savings to cover more than two more months. I'm disappointed in myself for not managing my money better. I'm confused about what I can do to improve my chances of getting a job. I'm dreading the thought of going back into a minimum-wage job (especially in this very expensive city) like retail (is this what my degree was for?). The strongest emotion I feel right now, however, is thankful to have a partner who will support me during this hard time. I can't imagine having to face this alone.

November Leaves
A couple weeks ago I was struggling with my emotions after reading up on current events. The situation in Oregon at the wildlife refuge has upset me beyond reason. It has highlighted some deep philosophical differences between me and some of the people I care deeply about, and that realization has knocked me over with sadness.

Simple House Slippers (for me!)
One thing that has kept me from sinking into a dark place has been pictures of yarn. I was reeling from the news (just general news, not anything in particular) when I took a break to scroll through Instagram. The first two pictures were of handspun yarn. All my stress melted away. I'd never felt something like that--a visceral calm from looking at a picture. Since then I've tried to temper my news reading with pictures of yarn. I have been trying to stop myself from compulsively checking Facebook and Twitter, since so much of what is posted there is news about whatever terrible thing is happening (and where I see the opinions of people I care about but don't agree with, which is something that has been hurting me lately. I just haven't been able to let that roll off my back like usual).

A Verb for Keeping Warm Flock (the yarn is much bluer in real life)
I would like to follow more people who post beautiful pictures of yarn, so if you have suggestions, please let me know. Instagram is a much happier place than other social media sites. Nearly every picture is of children I care about, cats, or knitting related. Not a bad place to live right now. Find me there at everywhereknitting.


Thursday, December 31, 2015

Year-end Recap

I haven't been blogging (for more than a year!) because I was beginning to feel like all I wrote about was what I'd just finished. We've got Ravelry for cataloging our finished objects now, so doing it here doesn't seem as necessary. However, I do like a good list, so here's my list of completed objects in 2015. Since I haven't blogged since August of last year, I'll also do a 2014 list.

1 baby sweater (the only sweater I completed this year!)
1 blanket
1 dishcloth
1 bag
1 sleep mask
1 headband
1 shawl
3 toys

2 pairs fingerless mitts
6 cowls
14 hats
32 completed projects

I also frogged one sweater and have one baby sweater on hold. Both of those were cases of making mistakes enough times that I needed a break from the project.

I guess it's safe to say I knit mostly hats this year. I didn't knit as much as I usually do, which is surprising since I've been laid off for six months. For 2016 I'd like to complete at least one adult-sized sweater.

Some other fun statistics for 2015:

  • Nearly half of these projects were knit using only one color (two projects were with variegated yarn). 
  • Two hats were knit with six or more colors. Both of them were by the same designer, both because I added additional colors to what the pattern specified. I also knit two hats using self-striping yarn paired with a white yarn, which could count as more than six colors.
  • 28 used fewer than 300 yards; 14 used fewer than 150.
  • Blue and white are tied for most frequently used color, though no single color was used most often for single-color projects.
  • Size 7 needles were used most, with nine projects. Only one project was knit on needles larger than a size 10.
  • I used worsted-weight yarn 15 times, fingering-weight nine times.
  • I finished the most projects in September (six) and none in June.
  • I learned brioche this year. I really enjoyed that and plan to use it more often.
  • I purchased 16 skeins of yarn this year and was gifted one.
  • I taught one friend how to knit and helped another move beyond the basic knit stitch.

1 child sweater
1 washcloth
1 pair of slippers
1 tie
2 baby sweaters
2 pairs fingerless mitts
3 toys
3 cowls
21 hats
1 each frogged or hibernating project
37 completed projects in 2014.

Friday, August 08, 2014


It's tempting to explain and excuse myself for this long absence.  The truth of it is, I haven't had much to say about knitting lately.  I have been contemplating a personal blog--there's so much on my mind about job hunting, living in a new place, trying to minimize my belongings (a very slow process), my body image--but I'm not sure what I have to say is interesting, or maybe it's too personal for a blog.

There has been knitting.  So much knitting.  I had hit a block for quite awhile, where I didn't even feel like adding to my queue.  Knitting had stalled.  And then I knit a Virgo Hat, after visiting Princess Animal and getting friendly suggestions from their staff.  It felt good to talk knitting and yarn with other knitters.  (I really should find a knitting group.)  Anyway, after that hat, I just wanted to knit and knit.  Perhaps it was because I knit much of it while on a short vacation in Big Sur.  Big Sur is a beautiful place that encourages revitalization.

Lately, I've knit three things from the same yarn.  I've started a fourth project with it, too.  It's not that I love the yarn, in fact, the teal color sheds and then tangles up on itself, which is maddening.  I do love the color combination, though, and it knits up nicely. Brian helped me pick it out to make a Chromaticity Cowl.

After knitting that, I still had a bunch of yarn left, so I made a Brushcreek Cowlette, which used less yarn than I'd expected. 

So, I knit a Hado Slouch, knowing it wouldn't use up a lot of the remaining yarn, but I was hoping for more of a dent in it!  I still have 40% or more of each skein.

The real purpose for knitting so many things from the same yarn is that I need more yarn for my Beekeeper's Quilt.  It's been stalled since February (and June of 2013 before that).  I intended this to be a project using up the remainders of yarn skeins, so 40% seems like too much to commit from a single skein, especially of a solid color.  I want a random assortment of colors for this project.  I am itching to work on it, since there hasn't been much progress for months and months.  Plus, it's the perfect project for our upcoming trip to Maui.

So, I'll keep on knitting with this yarn until it's gone. One way or another. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Shouldn't I be Settled by Now?

A tie Brian will never wear.

I have moved to new cities many times.  California is the ninth state I've lived in; San Francisco is the 21st city I've lived in.  That's counting the cities I called home as a child.  Cities I've chosen numbers 19, including short-term residencies during college.  Cut those out and I'm still at 17.  The point is, I've moved a lot.

One thing I've learned about moving so frequently is that it takes a good year to make solid friendships.  At this point I've gained two friends who will likely remain my friends even after we no longer work together (I also have a few friends ready-made from other places whom I've joined in San Francisco).  I'm feeling the urge to make friends outside of work, however, which is a much more difficult proposition.  Brian and I like to explore through walking around the city (see my Instagram posts for photos from around the city--I'm everywhereknitting there, too).  Being on the move does not allow the time to settle in, to get to know something really well.  Sure, they know my name and my drink at Starbucks, and I've made friends before

by lingering in stores, but this isn't quite the tactic I'd like to take.

Perhaps I should join some knitting groups.  I have made friends that way before, so it will probably work.  I just get shy in situations where no one knows me.  You'd think that after so many years of making new friends I'd be an expert, but I'm not.

Which brings me to knitting.  Since I don't have many friends here, and job hunting can only occupy so much of my day, I should have a lot of time for knitting.  Somehow, I don't do much of it these days, though.

I never did a summary of what I knit last year, so here's a quick summary:
39 total projects, plus one that has stretched into this year.
9 cowls
9 hats
5 baby items
2 pairs of socks
3 pairs of mitts
1 baby sweater
1 sweater back that has to be re-knit.

Not very impressive.  I did get on a run at the beginning of this year, but it has since fizzled out.  I'm working on a toddler sweater that just needs to be finished. 

This feeling of being unsettled has bled into knitting.  Some nights I dink around on my phone or computer instead of knitting.  Some nights I knit a row or two and then find something else to do.  I just can't seem to focus on knitting.

I think I need to revisit the "knit whatever I want" rule.  It's nice not having deadlines, but I miss presenting people with gifts.  Does anyone need anything?  Want anything?  I could use some inspiration.  I guess a knitting group would do that, huh?  Maybe I just need to be here for another four months before I feel settled enough to happily knit whatever, when I'm not out gallivanting with all the new friends I'll make.
A hat that has no owner.  Want it?

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Things Have Changed

An update.  I moved to San Francisco in August.  I love it here, so far.  It is nice to be so close to the ocean again.  I can walk to one of the most beautiful beaches in the city, and I might see porpoises while I'm there!  I walk to work, which I love (the walk and the job).  All in all, this is a good time to be me.

There are some negatives, though.  I can't afford to fly to Michigan for the holidays.  It will be more than two years since I've seen some of my family and my oldest friend and her family.  The thought of this breaks my heart. 

Also, while I love my job, it isn't sustainable.  It's not quite at the same professional level that I feel I should be at, and the pay is too low to maintain life in the city.  Thank goodness Brian has a job that barely covers the astronomical rent (ours is low).

I guess those are the negatives.  It's winter now and the low will be 34 tonight.  We are determined to never use our radiator, and I usually have to open a window during the night.  I haven't acclimated to this weather yet, and still think it's pretty nice out (everyone else thinks it is cold out when the temperature dips below 60).  I love the fog, and because we live in the tallest building around (seven stories), we have a great view that is ethereal when the fog rolls in.

One more negative is the lack of yarn stores in San Francisco.  As far as I know, there are two in the city (another has recently closed its doors).  Two?  For 825,000 people?  I know there are amazing stores in Oakland that I haven't been able to visit, and I'm sure there are others in the Bay Area, but come on!  That said, I think Imagiknit has every yarn ever made, so it's not like we are lacking in actual yarn.

I taught a coworker how to knit, and she is a superstar already.  I had a freak out moment when we went to buy yarn, though, and couldn't do math.  So I made her buy more than she probably needs.  We all need to start a stash sometime, right?

I don't have any pictures to post because I've been lazy about taking them.  So I either don't have photographs of recent things or I have bad pictures.  Check my Ravelry page to see what I mean.

Blogging is going to be hit or miss for the next six months while I try to figure out my place in this new world.  Thanks for sticking with me.